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SAN ANTONIO – There has been an increase in research regarding animals and their positive effect on those suffering from a mental illness.

Pets are a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives, said The Mental Health Foundation.

Fortunately, this Fall semester Our Lady of the Lake University’s Office of Residence Life has made it possible for students living in the dorms to bring along their service and/or emotional support animals (ESA). Assistance animals are now allowed in any dorm, however one wing in the Centennial dorm’s first floor is working to become completely pet-friendly. In that wing of Centennial, the animal does not need to be a service animal or emotional support animal as long as they stay in regulation with the rules and standards of the hall.

“It is helpful that the ESAs and service animals can live with their owners in any dorm that the individual desires to live,” said Resident Assistant (RA) Katelin Shamy. “Being an RA, that benefits me because I can still do my job and go where my supervisors need me to be.”

The campus has made various improvements to the dorms to accommodate these animals such as installing several waste stations for picking up around the dorms and have created a small dog park next to the Cyber Cafe. This new addition to campus has so far been a meaningful experience for many residents on-campus.

While this experience is still fairly new, it is already proving to be making a significant impact on students on and off-campus as it continues to improve.

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